Ireland's smoking ban a success after first year

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Tomorrow will be an historic day in the Republic of Ireland. It will be exactly one year since the initial introduction of the once controversial smoking ban. The ban, introduced on March 29 2004, made Ireland the first country in world to completely ban smoking in all workplaces.

The idea was initially met with much skepticism by the Irish who traditionally had a worldwide image as a land of drinkers and smokers. However despite this early uncertainty, the ban has been a huge success. Cigarettes sales have fallen by as much as 60% in Pubs, with the country's biggest tobacco brand, Gallaher, reporting an overall drop in sales of 7.5%.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced earlier this month that over 7,000 had given up smoking in the past twelve months. A survey by the Irish Department of Health showed 82% supported the ban. Anti-smoking lobby groups such as ASH had been calling for a ban for many years prior to the Government's initiative.

On 3 December 2003, New Zealand passed the Smokefree Environments Amendment Bill which lead it to become the second nation to impose a total ban. Its ban came into effect nine months after Ireland's, on 10 December 2004. In January of this year Italy also introduced a ban. Sweden intends to go smoke free in June of this year and in Scotland, the Parliament hopes to have a ban in effect by early 2006.


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